Mobile Learning – Rethinking Your Strategy

Mobile learning is something that many organisations would like to implement, but very few have got their fingers around. Fundamentally speaking, it means having the ability to learn regardless of location or time. Nowadays, smart phones are increasingly the learning device of choice and learning needs to adapt accordingly. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, many organisations really struggle in understanding where mobile should be placed in their learning strategy.

For instance, many companies seem to look at mobile learning as just an extension of the already existing e-learning. On the other hand, many organisations see it to be totally separate from e-learning. But in fact, you should think of mobile learning as the next generation of e-learning.

In 2018: e-learning = mobile learning.

With the rapid adoption of mobile devices in our personal and professional lives, our habits have changed accordingly. Whereas we would require computers to do certain tasks in the past, that is decreasingly the case nowadays. Mobile devices have become so powerful that we can use them for almost anything – including learning.

Furthermore, these mobile devices seem to have become the go-to medium for consuming content. If you find that hard to believe, observe people in public transport, for instance. Since our learners’ preference is clearly changing, we must adopt our learning strategies accordingly. We need to start building learning for the mobile. And the most wonderful thing is that building mobile learning doesn’t mean neglecting the traditional e-learning, thanks to technology.

How should we use technology to cater for mobile?

As mentioned, thanks to technological developments, mobile learning and e-learning shouldn’t be separate things. With e.g. HTML5, we can use our learning content equally well on mobile and computers. No mobile native apps are needed and all platforms can be managed through a single web interface. This ensures that learning becomes truly mobile, as the learners will have the same content, same progress and same results regardless of the device they choose to learn with at any given time.

Of course, you have likely built a library of e-learning content before the mobile era. Luckily, there are some great tools out there for streamlined conversion of old learning materials into mobile (here’s a few good ones). Going forward, on the other hand, there’s really no excuse to revert back to differentiating mobile learning and e-learning. You are likely to do twice the work maintaining two different streams of content, and the results are likely worse. On the other hand, neglecting learners with different device preferences is only going to result in loss of engagement.

How could my old e-learning benefit from lessons learnt with mobile?

The use of mobile devices has uplifted the requirements for digital learning. An alarming research finding is that when we use our mobiles, we don’t actually read. We rather skim and glance the text. This naturally means that we should not use excessive text based content. As it is, we have had to start using more interactive content formats, such as video, animations and gamified experiences. These interactive content types help to lift the engagement levels of the learners, enabling also better retention. So, instead of forcibly pushing our mobile learners with documents, we should generate content that fits mobile consumption preferences. After all, no one is going to enjoy reading 50-slide presentations or 10-page manuals on a 6-inch screen.

As it is, text based content is easier to consume on the computer than mobile – that’s a given. However, even our computer based learning could greatly benefit from content interactivity. The different multimedia experiences help to cater to different learning styles. They also enable better tracking, as well as engagement. With that, the computer based learning can evolve from a tick-box exercise to measurable and motivating experiences. In hindsight, the mobile era has required us to provide the type of learning content that we should have for a long time.

Do you have questions on how to implement mobile learning in your organisation? Drop us a note, and we’ll help you get started with a free consultation.